Breaking Out of the Old Legal Marketing Model (Part A)

Fifty years ago, there was such a thing as a "family lawyer" - the go-to guy for advice on business, estate planning, and all other manner of legal (and sometimes personal) matters.

Today, people view lawyers as bloodthirsty, money-hungry tyrants, only interested in billing that one extra phone call or Email onto their divorce settlement bill. This isn't good business - this is the start of a vicious cycle of one-time clients that would rather get what they need from you and never speak to you again.

The Marketing Merry-Go-Round

Stepping off the merry-go-round of marketing and planting your feet in the ground is essential to finding stability in your practice. How often do you see firms running an aggressive marketing campaign, only to see them turn around and do the same thing a few months down the road? They're not doing it because they like marketing, they're doing it because they HAVE TO market.

One-time clients come and go, and without lasting relationships to generate constant revenue, the firm will have to run yet another campaign to bring in a whole new batch of clients. The cycle never ends.

Step 1: Focus

One of the biggest mistakes I see law firms making is casting their net too wide when looking for clients. Sure, your firm specializes in estate planning, that's great. But are you going to try to appeal to a single, desk-job employee with a $30,000 annual income and no real assets the same as you'd appeal to a family man with a 6-figure salary, 3 kids and a yacht down at the marina? No. Your clients are the most important asset to your firm and you should be focused on who you want as your clients.

Narrowing your scope of marketing
seems counterproductive, I know.  Why would you want to reach out to fewer potential clients? The answer is quality vs. quantity. You can spend hundreds of dollars running a generic print ad in the local newspaper and be seen by thousands of readers. Maybe one or two will call, but most will just flip past and your money will end up in the recycle bin.

Now stop and think: who is your ideal client? Not just "anyone who's had a personal injury" but "a single mother whose son fell off a loose piece of playground equipment at the city park and broke his arm." Suddenly, you have a complete picture of your next client - something that's going to help you focus your marketing media to bring her to your firm. Target your niche, learn who they are, where they look, what they like, and the more you appeal directly to them, the more likely they'll listen.

That's not the end of it! Keep reading for the next steps in breaking your marketing cycle.

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Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.